November 2, 2018

I’ve had trouble writing this. The murders committed at the Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha (Hebrew: “Light of Joy”) synagogue on Oct. 27th, just short of a week ago, have left me feeling numb. Normally I have quite a few thoughts on the trending cultural and political rumblings. This time though, I’m left with little to say. That is probably a good thing, since a tragedy that is as tinged with malevolence and sorrow as this one requires silence before… Read more

October 14, 2018

I have refrained from commenting on the last few weeks in American politics. This has largely been for selfish reasons: the constant news coverage, be it televised or “Twitterized,” has been, quite frankly, exhausting and I just did not have the energy to comment on any of it. Of course I am talking about the media circus surrounding the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. While the crazed nature of the event has been there from… Read more

September 25, 2018

A recent blog post by British NT scholar Ian Paul laments the lack of men in Western churches. While one has to speak in quite general terms on this topic and thus speak cautiously (both Paul and myself, for instance, do not fit the general trend, as we have academic theological training and are deeply religious, as are many other Christian men), it is still necessary to see that, at least in the Western Church since the Reformation period, male participation… Read more

September 4, 2018

Another day, another “discussion” on the Christian Twittersphere. Over the last several days, a good deal contention has erupted between Christians. As with all such social media disputes, the origin of the name-calling “debate” is a bit convoluted. As far as I can tell Broderick Greer, an Episcopal priest, fired the opening shot: The evangelicals with instagram hipster aesthetics and churches that meet in theatres know EXACTLY what they’re doing: Misleading otherwise-progressive urbanites to adopt fundamentalism in skinny jeans, accompanied… Read more

August 16, 2018

Modern Western Christians largely ignore the biblical texts relating to divine judgment. One need only look at the neglect of preaching on the Old Testament in American churches, particularly the prophets, or the carefully edited Jesus who only ever seems to preach the Beatitudes and never anything related to the defeat of evil and eschatological judgment upon the corrupt powers, human and non-human, that have distorted God’s creation. We do not like talk of judgment and we cannot understand why… Read more

August 3, 2018

David Bentley Hart recently wrote a fascinating essay on the nature of the resurrection body over at Notre Dame’s Church Life Journal. The background of the essay is an ongoing debate that Hart has been having with N.T. Wright over their respective translations of the New Testament. Wright published his own translation, The Kingdom New Testament (HarperOne, 2011) a few years back. It is a very dynamic translation that often verges on paraphrase, but is close to the New Living… Read more

July 24, 2018

I really love the Gospel According to Mark. It is simple in construction compared to the other Gospels, yet it is also extremely profound within that relative simplicity. I was reminded of this recently in prepping for a Sunday School class that I am currently teaching on the book. I was teaching on what is arguably my favorite pericope in Mark’s Gospel: Jesus’s calming of the storm in Mark 4:35-41. The literary genius that goes into this short pericope is… Read more

July 8, 2018

I have been reading a fascinating book over the last several days. Philip Jenkins is well-known for his writing on the topic of modern, Majority World Christianity, especially in regions like Africa, South America, and Asia. His book, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity (Oxford University Press, 2011), is a fascinating investigation into the rapid rise of Christianity in the non-Western world/Global South. Personally, I also find the book quite encouraging. As a confessionally orthodox Christian living in… Read more

June 13, 2018

Another day, another book review over at the New York Times extolling a tome that seeks to show how the “barbarous” and “thuggish” early Christians destroyed the “enlightened” and “cosmopolitan” order of the ancient pagan world. The book in question is the The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World by Catherine Nixey (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018). The review summarizes the general argument of the book in short order, namely that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the entrance of… Read more

June 3, 2018

Over at The Atlantic, there is an interesting article by Sigal Samuel about the religious nature of many atheists in America. Yes, you read that right, religious atheists.  Of course, there is a good bit of provocative overstatement in the title. The actual demographic that Samuel is referring to is the much-discussed “nones” category. This is a larger umbrella term for anybody who does not subscribe to a defined religious tradition or denomination. Atheists, agnostics, apatheists (those are simply apathetic… Read more

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